The Health Benefits Of A Good Break

sun umbrella

I’m trying to spot the health benefits of a good break. You see, I’m still on a post-holiday high. And I’m resisting being dragged back into unproductive routines. To do this, I step out of myself and try to note the differences compared to my pre-holiday self.


port de carnonChoose your holiday companions wisely. Not always easy I know. The health benefits of happiness and laughter are widely acknowledged which is why surrounding yourself with people whose time you enjoy but provide minimal stress and drama is the trick. Adjusting your expectations around children and holidays also helps. Rather than craving that adult meal and glass of wine, try to focus on silliness and nothingness in the swimming pool perhaps. It took me DAYS to unwind to this but I got there.

french street signDaily physical exercise

I’m sad to report, this once half-marathon runner is extremely unfit these days and that became glaringly obvious while on holiday. Despite convincing myself I’m ‘active’ it obviously hasn’t been enough. However, between not renting a car, 30 minute walks to the nearest bus-stop and children who needed hours of daily pool time, I did not sit still. My back has stopped hurting, my body feels strong!

sun umbrellaAn intuitive sleep cycle

I’ve been firmly in denial about my sleep habits. Although I aim to get a regular 8-10 hours which my body craves, it’s inconsistent and probably not achieved most of the time. On holiday, I switched off the alarm and adjusted to a natural cycle, often not rousing until after 9-10 hours. Sleep is so vital for our health. It helps deal with stress, aids our digestion.

Where do I go from here? By naturally listening to my body when it’s time to go to bed, that’s the trick. This morning I woke naturally at 6.45am, which is perfectly fine to manage the day.

Taking a breath

My urge to verbally express every single thought on every single situation is way too strong. While taking a break away from home, away from daily life I began to ask myself why I do this? I have an active, inquiring brain which I sometimes find hard to quieten. So I verbally blurt. But this doesn’t necessarily calm the brain and then I also worry SO much about my verbal diarrhoea . On holiday, I managed to unwind to a level where I stopped, took a breath and decided if I could be bothered to blurt.

sea foodEnjoying food

I’m a Francophile. Not least because of their food, so when we can afford it, we take breaks in France. This recent trip I threw myself into the French Paradox more than ever.  Everyday we ate together, ate slowly and savoured our food. Each meal contained greens, vegetables but also fats, proteins and carbs (bread and cheese). We drank alcohol but broke it down to aperitif, wine with dinner, wine with cheese and most importantly drinking slowly. The only meal which made me feel uncomfortably full was when we got take away pizza and even then, we had side salads.

True to form, I’m already panicking about how I can keep this going. Clearly, I wasn’t working the long days I usually do (even though some work had to be done #selfemployedlife), so filled that time with all of the above.

I’ll take it one day at a time. And take that breath.

aperol spritz

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About Claire Jones-Hughes

Founder and co-editor of, Claire has been blogging since 2009. She has posted on a variety of sites including The Argus, The Huffington Post and The Guardian's Comment Is Free. Known as The Contented Mummy on social media, she is dedicated to honest, unsponsored blogging so that parents can benefit from shared experience. Can also be found at - sharing her journey to health & wellness.

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One Comment on “The Health Benefits Of A Good Break”

  1. So hard isn’t it? We went camping in the holidays. It was our first time since we were kids. I realised that we really got away from it all, just 15 minutes up the road. No TV, very little phone use, conserving battery & data. Our daily routines were so different, I felt so very rested after. It took me a good week to get back into the swing of working, which also returned some back pain and fatigue. I have been doing a 10-minute meditation every morning after the school run. This helps so much with getting some of that chilled holiday vibe into my daily life!

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